I learned a new word this week: incel.
At least, it’s new to me. And to many other Canadians who hadn’t encountered it in the past.
It’s a blend of the words “involuntarily celebate,” coined in 1993, apparently, with good intent by a Canadian woman who started some sort of lonely hearts club.
I’m not sure when the word was co-opted by lonely young men so frustrated by their inability to connect with women that they became deeply misogynous. To the point of hate. To the point of violence. To the point of murder.
There are thousands of them out there, reportedly. They are angry because they can’t get laid. They blame women for not giving them sex. They see a conspiracy by feminists to deny them sexual pleasure, to which they feel they are entitled.9
According to reports, they are not so much a radical militant group, but rather an online movement based on misogynous idealogy with links to the alt-right. A bunch of horny, frustrated guys unclear on the art of modern-day courtship, essentially, who get together in online communities to bemoan their fate and say hateful things.
Authorities haven’t paid them much attention in the past. It hadn’t occurred to anyone that a little bit of sympathetic intervention on these sites might have prevented some incels from becoming militant and, in the process, eventually saved some lives. Because who would have thought that a seemingly intelligent twentysomething man would, in the name of the “incel rebellion,” embark on a murderous driving spree in downtown Toronto that left 10 dead and injured 14 others?
Now everybody in Canada is talking about incels. Not as that 1993 lonely hearts club, but as a dangerous patriarchal, misogynous movement. They are being likened to ISIS, which kills indiscriminately, just as Alek Minassian did when he drove a rental truck on a Toronto sidewalk on Monday. Minassian killed women and men, young and old.
It remains to be seen if there is a militant “incel rebellion” unfolding or if this was the action of one mentally ill man who found refuge in hate groups and took it far too seriously. Some of his neighbours say Minassian appeared to have been mentally ill for quite some time.
Whatever the case may be, it appears that he wanted to not only kill people, but to die as well. After his vehicle was stopped, he got out and waved a gun in the direction of a police officer, urging the cop to shoot him. But instead of firing, the officer moved in and simply arrested him.
Minassian appears to have miscalculated. He seemed to have been counting on being shot. But now he will suffer what may be the worst fate for a sexually frustrated heterosexual young male: he will probably spend the rest of his life in a prison full of men, never to know the touch of a woman.
Meanwhile, a nation is in shock and mourning. It’s the second big shock for Canadians this month. In early April, a collision between a bus and a truck in Humboldt, Saskatchewan killed several members of a hockey team and others. We as a nation are still grieving for those lost in that tragedy.
And now this. Not a collision. Not an accident.
It was an act of senseless mass murder.
I know that many of my American readers can relate to our collective and individual sorrow. You have experienced the same far too many times. We’ve cried with you in those times. And I am sure many of you are crying with us now.